If you want a Tesla but can’t handle the price tag, mainstream manufacturers have started making electric vehicles (EVs) that can compete. And with more and more slated to hit car lots in the coming years, Tesla’s going to have a fight on its hands. Here are four alternatives to consider in the meantime.
1. Nissan Leaf
This year, Nissan is updating its popular and successful Leaf electric car. The Leaf is currently the world’s best-selling EV, with over 300,000 units shipped. It’s also one of the most affordable. The original Leaf launched in 2010 while Tesla was still converting rebadged Lotus cars to electric.
The original car featured numerous aerodynamic design features, including sweeping headlights that deflect air around the wing mirrors, reducing drag. The underside also had smooth panelling, making the car more slippery and further lowering drag. Nissan opted for LED headlights to lower power usage and increase efficiency.
The 2019 Leaf is available with ProPilot Assist to rival Tesla’s automated driving options, and the S Plus model has a range of up to 226 miles.
You can buy a 2019 Nissan Leaf starting at $29,990. And tax credits can drive the price even lower through April 2020.
2. BMW i3
For those looking for a luxury vehicle, the i3 and i3s models by BMW fit the bill nicely. The i3 is 95% recyclable, with BMW stating they tried to design with sustainability in mind. The car has a range of 153 miles — or 200 miles with a range extender.
The interior is deceptively spacious, but the external styling may divide opinions. The accompanying BMW smartphone app even helps drivers improve range and learn their driving habits.
You can buy a 2019 BMW i3 starting at $44,450.
3. Chevy Bolt EV
The Bolt EV offers the best range on this list, going up to 238 miles on a single charge. If that’s not enough, it can charge up enough to go 90 miles in about 30 minutes at a DC Fast charging station.
It also offers over 56 cubic feet of cargo space and a range of automated safety features to help prevent accidents.
You can buy a 2019 Chevy Bolt EV starting at $36,620.
4. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai now offers a fully electric version of the Ioniq, but availability is limited as of May 2019. Though the 5-seater hatchback appears pretty conventional externally, the car receives widely positive reviews. And Hyundai claims a range of 124 miles.
The Ioniq Electric offers an array of extra safety features like emergency braking and blindspot detection. Its battery carries a lifetime warranty and four-hour recharge time on a domestic plug.
You can buy a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric with a starting MSRP of $30,315 or upgrade to the Electric Limited, which starts at $36,815.
Compare car loan options
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Tesla may be one of the most well-known makers of electric cars, but it’s far from the only option. And the alternatives on this list come in way under Tesla’s sticker price.
Find a car that works for you? Read our guide to car loans to find out how to finance it.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I charge an electric car?
Install a charger at your home or charge your car at one of the electric charging stations around the country at places like restaurants, parking garages and rest areas.
What tax credits are available for buying an electric car?
You may be eligible for a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the size and battery capacity of your car. But the amount you’re eligible for will decline over the next year as the tax credit is phased out. Visit fueleconomy.gov to learn more.
How long does the battery in an electric car last?
It’s difficult to predict and will vary between manufacturers. But most new electric cars come with a substantial warranty on the battery. For example, a 2019 Nissan Leaf battery is warrantied up to eight years or 100,000 miles.
More guides on Finder
Electric vehicles in 2021: How new models, insurance rates and tax breaks affect their cost to own
See average EV insurance rates for 2021 based on Finder’s car model research, plus new models on the horizon.
Electric vehicle tax credit for 2021
You could cut your tax bill by up to $7,500 with this credit.
4 types of electric cars
Compare starting MSRPs, fuel-efficiency and ranges of models on the market.
Hybrid vs. electric cars
Make the right environmentally friendly choice for your next vehicle.
Auto manufacturers that sell cars in the US
Get the lowdown on 30+ automakers and what they have to offer.
Compare electric car insurance
Compare cheap insurance for your electric car and find ways to save.
How to buy an eco-friendly car
Looking for an eco-friendly car? Here’s what you need to know about buying green.
How much will you actually save with an electric car?
Compare EVs and hybrids vs gas-powered cars to find out how much you could save by switching. you can save by going electric.
Ask an Expert